Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Butternut Squash with Sausage and Quinoa

**Blogger is not behaving and I cannot get the fonts to cooperate!**
I've been trying to serve more whole grains to my family.  As I'm sure you've heard, whole grains have many health benefits.  They have lots of nutrients including protein, fiber, vitamin B, antioxidants and minerals.  Eating whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some forms of cancer.

Many people think they are eating whole grains but aren't.  I read that most Americans eat less than one serving a day and about 40% (Web MD) don't eat whole grains at all!  Are you confused with all the different labels like multi grain, 100% wheat, stone ground?  Many products that have these labels are not whole grain!  When reading ingredient lists, look for the word "whole."  Your wheat bread might actually be refined wheat flour.  Sure, it is 100% wheat but not "whole wheat" and that is what counts.

 Here is a list of whole grains that are easy to incorporate into your meals:

  •    Whole-grain corn
  •     Whole oats/oatmeal
  •     Popcorn
  •     Brown rice
  •     Whole rye
  •     Whole-grain barley
  •     Wild rice
  •     Buckwheat
  •     Bulgur (cracked wheat)
  •     Millet
  •     Quinoa
  •     Sorghum
  •     100% whole wheat flour

There are many ways to incorporate whole grains into your diet beside bread.  Some whole grains are harder to cook than others but many only take a little more time than any other side dish you'd prepare.


It is easy to fall into the time crunch trap during weeknights when trying to get something on the table while doing homework or getting ready to go to scouts and say, "I don't have time!"  But I found that cooking whole grains don't have to take forever.  I'll make a big batch of brown rice or quinoa and have it for a few meals during the week so I don't have the excuse of no time. 


This recipe is perfect for the fall since it uses one of my favorite squashes - the butternut. Yum.


It also uses sausage.  Now you may be thinking "sausage isn't healthy."  And I'd have to agree that processed meats are generally not healthy.  However, I was able to get ground pork from my local farmers market..  More farmers’ markets have vendors selling local, if not organic, meat.    The sausage I used doesn't use nitrates, which is what makes processed meats so bad. I also found that a little goes a long way in this recipe so you don’t get as much fat.  
I’ve adapted this recipe from the Liana Krissoff’s recipe in Whole Grains for a New Generation .
Butternut Squash with sausage and quinoa
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced
2 shallots
2 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper
8 ounces of mild Italian sausage, casings removed (preferably nitrate free)
2 sprigs of fresh sage, chopped
1 cup quinoa (cooked*)
2 cups of greens (I used tatsoi but spinach would work nicely)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel, seed and cut the squash into 1 inch cubes, place in a large mixing bowl.  Peel and quarter the shallots and add them to the squash.  Drizzle veggies with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and mix to coat well.  Put veggies in baking dish and cook for 30 to 40 minutes.
As the squash cooks, add 1 Tbs oil to a pan over medium-high heat and cook the sausage, breaking it into small pieces.  Cook until browned and cooked through.  Drain off excess fat.  Return to high heat and add the sage, 1/2 tsp salt and greens until almost wilted and then add the cooked quinoa.  Cook for about 5 minutes until quinoa is heated through. 
Transfer quinoa and squash to the sausage and gently fold to combine.  Taste and season as necessary with salt and pepper. 
*To cook quinoa, rinse 1 cup of quinoa under cold water for a minute or two.  Add quinoa to medium saucepan with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.  The water will be absorbed and quinoa “uncurls” when cooked.







  1. I've been experimenting with more exotic whole grains too. Wondering why I didn't do it sooner! This is a great recipe though I'll substitute sausage for another protein to make it vegetarian. Love Butternut Squash!

    1. I meant to say that you could substitute veggie sausage. I think roasted tofu would go nicely too. I love the combination of tofu and butternut squash!